Philippines chief justice impeachment trial begins

[JURIST] The Philippine Senate [official website] on Monday began the impeachment trial [press release] of Chief Justice Renato Corona [official profile] for violating the constitution and the public trust in connection with the trial of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], who originally appointed Corona to the Supreme Court. There are eight charges [text] against Corona, including failure to disclose his personal finances and several allegations of partiality. The most high profile of the allegations includes a charge of partiality when it comes to the trial of Arroyo. If found guilty, Corona will likely be forced out of office. Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan [official website] said that the impeachment would "[exact] public accountability from high-ranking public officials," and such accountability "is necessary if our society is to have a healthy respect for the rule of law."

Former president Arroyo has been a target of anti-corruption efforts by President Benigno Aquino [BBC profile]. Arroyo was recently arrested [JURIST report] in the hospital before she was able to leave the country to seek medical treatment. Corona presided over the court that voted to allow Arroyo to travel [JURIST report] to receive medical care, temporarily restraining the restrictions on Arroyo's travel in connection with several pending charges against her. Arroyo was president of the Philippines from 2001-2010. She left office after the Philippine Department of Justice (PDOJ) [official website] brought allegations of corruption against her. Arroyo was elected to the House of Representatives last year after the Philippine Supreme Court ruled her eligible to run [JURIST report], despite protests that she had an unfair advantage. In July 2010, Aquino signed an executive order [JURIST report] to set up a "truth commission" to investigate allegations that the outgoing administration engaged in corruption and rights violations.

 

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